List of 50+ English Suffixes With Examples & Worksheet

A suffix is a letter or group of letters affixed to the end of a word to create a different word. Some suffixes are single letters; for example, in the word floors, -s is a suffix indicating that the noun, floor, is plural. Others are multiple letters; for instance, in the word brightest, the suffix -est makes the adjective, bright, superlative.

There are many ways to categorize suffixes, but the most common makes a distinction between inflectional suffixes and derivational suffixes. An inflectional suffix adds information to the root word without altering the root’s linguistic function.

For example, the -er in the adjective looser is inflectional because loose and looser are both adjectives that function more or less the same. The suffix -hood, in contrast, is derivational because it combines with its stem to create a new word—for example, the noun likelihood from the adjective likely.

Most suffixes can be attached to their stems without a hyphen. For example, while spell-check might catch words like documentable, youthism, kittenesque, and buildingless, these are perfectly good words with easily understood meanings (especially in context).

Why Use Suffixes?

Suffixes expand vocabulary and bring detailed meaning to sentence structure. They allow for new ways to express thoughts and opinions and simplify sentences to emphasize main points. They also work to transform nouns into verbs and explain the conditions, actions, tenses, and capabilities of certain words. 

Common Suffixes Examples

These common examples provide a list of suffixes used in modern English. The addition of a suffix to a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb will often alter the spelling of the root word. Usually, words that end in “e” replace “e” with the suffix. 

Common Noun Suffixes

Adding suffixes to a noun can change it to a verb or change its function in a sentence entirely. Many common noun suffixes are used to show the performing of an action or activity being engaged in. For example, adding -eer to the word auction changes it to auctioneer –  or a person engaged in an auction. 

SuffixMeaningExample
-ageaction, state, or process ofmarriage, postage, package, baggage, passage
-alCondition, state, or quality ofarrival, dismissal, proposal, refusal, rebuttal, denial, refusal
-ance, -enceaction, state, condition, or quality ofacceptance, assurance, maintenance, attendance, reference, insurance, existence
-ation, -tionan action or resulting state of beingdeclaration, transition, celebration, abbreviation, information, education, elimination
-eerengaged in something, associated with somethingvolunteer, engineer, auctioneer, mountaineer, profiteer
-ersomeone who performs an actionteacher, dancer, helper, farmer, trainer, jeweler, villager
-erya business or trade, a behavior, a conditionbakery, creamery, machinery, slavery, brewery
-hoodTerms associated with family parenthood, fatherhood, motherhood, childhood
-ingaction, state, or process ofseeing, writing, ending, going, blessing, feeding
-istone who practiceschemist, columnist, cellist, bicyclist, scientist
-itythe state or condition ofequality, inactivity, stupidity, curiosity, activity, mobility, reality
-mentthe action or result ofretirement, argument, establishment, punishment, abandonment
-nessa state or qualityawareness, sadness, kindness, happiness, kindness, uselessness, truthfulness
-ora person who is somethingtranslator, narrator, director, distributor
-shipposition heldFellowship, ownership, internship, partnership, membership, friendship
-sion, -xionstate or beingconcession, division, complexion, tension, depression, confusion, impression
-thstate or quality ofstrength, warmth, death, width, length, birth, growth
-tycondition ofhonesty, loyalty, cruelty, safety
-ureaction or the resulting statedeparture, failure, pressure, legislature

Common Verb Suffixes

Many verb suffixes are used to show the tense of the action. For example, adding -ed designates a past tense, while -ing works to describe something occurring in the present tense. Other additions help explain an action or process.

SuffixMeaning Example
-ateto makedecorate, eradicate, captivate, cooperate, allocate, concentrate, regulate
-edpast-tense version of a verbclimbed, jogged, walked, laughed
-ento becomesoften, flatten, sweeten, shorten, lengthen, brighten, darken
-eraction or process, making an adjective comparativefaster, longer, quicker, bigger
-ify, -fyto make or to produceclassify, clarify, terrify, identify, simplify, defy, satisfy
-ingverb form/present participle of an actiondriving, skating, running, becoming, listening
-ize, -iseto cause or to becomeauthorize, apologize, socialize, civilize, stabilize, characterize, advertise

Common Adjective Suffixes

Since an adjective is used to help describe and detail an existing noun, the addition of suffixes adds detail and designates action. For example, adding -able to a word refers to things that are capable of being. You wouldn’t write, “the man whom people could predict”.  Instead, you would write, “the predictable man”.  

SuffixMeaningExample
-able, -iblecapable of beingpresentable, adaptable, predictable, edible,  credible
-alpertaining togrammatical, natural, accidental, regional, brutal, personal, universal
-antinclined to or tending toreliant, defiant, vigilant, brilliant
-aryof or relating tomilitary, complimentary, honorary, cautionary, momentary
-esquereminiscent ofpicturesque, statuesque
-fulfull of or notable ofresentful, wonderful, fanciful, beautiful, successful, grateful
-icrelating todomestic, heroic, poetic, athletic, scientific, historic, photographic
-icalhaving the nature ofpractical, mythical, logical, magical, historical
-ious, -oushaving qualities ofstudious, nutritious, cautious, humorous, fabulous, dangerous, mysterious, nervous, 
-ishOrigin or nature ofsheepish, snobbish, foolish, childish, selfish
-ivequality or nature ofexpensive, pensive, creative, divisive
-lesswithout somethingendless, ageless, faultless, fearless, restless
-likeLike, or similar in nature tochildlike, warlike, lifelike, 
-ymade up of or characterized bytasty, dirty, sleazy, hasty, brainy, grouchy, rainy, funny

Common Adverb Suffix

An adverb qualifies an adjective or verb, and the addition of a suffix provides further detail to how something is being done. For example, instead of saying “the girl was calm when she spoke”, you would say “the girl spoke calmly“.  A suffix works to both simplify and provide information to the audience. 

SuffixMeaningExample
-lyin what manner something is being donecalmly, simply, honestly, really, easily
-wardin a certain direction, or mannerbackward, downwards, awkward, afterward
-wisein relation toclockwise, lengthwise, otherwise, crosswise

Worksheet & Quiz

Suffixes Worksheet edited
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